Schiermonnikoog

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{island, water, area}
{area, part, region}
{water, park, boat}
{church, century, christian}
{city, large, area}
{line, north, south}
{build, building, house}
{village, small, smallsup}
{specie, animal, plant}
{language, word, form}
{law, state, case}
{car, race, vehicle}
{household, population, female}

Schiermonnikoog (About this sound pronunciation ; West Frisian: Skiermûntseach) is an island, a municipality, and a national park in the northern Netherlands. Schiermonnikoog is one of the West Frisian Islands, and is part of the province of Friesland.

The island is only 16 km long and 4 km wide and is the site of the Netherlands' first national park. The only village on the island is also called Schiermonnikoog. Just under 1,000 people permanently reside on the island, making the municipality the least densely populated in the Netherlands. Because the island is small and flat, only 200 islanders have taken out the special licence allowing them to keep their own car, which the result that the few streets are virtually car-free.

Up to 300,000 people visit the island every year, staying in the 5,500 beds available in holiday homes, apartments and hotels. Most visitors, however, are day trippers (about 4,000/day in July and August alone), with the result that after the last ferry leaves at 6.30pm, calm returns to Langestreek, the village high street.

Contents

History

The first known owners of Schiermonnikoog were the monks of Klaarkamp Abbey, a Cistercian monastery near Rinsumageest, on the mainland[1]. "Monnik" means "monk" and "schier" is an archaic word meaning "grey", referring to the colour of the monks' habits. "oog" translates as "island". The name Schiermonnikoog therefore translates as island of the grey monks [2][3].

The tidal current, prevailing wind and the sea cause the island to slowly "move" to the south and the east. In the year 1250, it lay roughly 2 km to the north of its present position, and it had a significantly different shape[4].

The oldest mention of Schiermonnikoog in writing dates from October 1440, in a document written by Philip the Good.

During the Reformation, the monasteries in the northern Netherlands were expropriated. In 1580, Schiermonnikoog became the property of the States of Friesland. Around 1640, the States sold to the island to the wealthy Stachouwer family. For the next three centuries, Schiermonnikoog remained private property.

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